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The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Mental Contrasting: Exploring the Intersection of Mindfulness & Mental Time Travel

Author: Kate Chambers (University of Arizona)

  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Mental Contrasting: Exploring the Intersection of Mindfulness & Mental Time Travel

    Articles

    The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Mental Contrasting: Exploring the Intersection of Mindfulness & Mental Time Travel

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Abstract

The adaptivity of mindfulness as a personality trait and the beneficial impact of mindfulness interventions on mental health are both substantiated by research. However, the phenomenon of mindfulness as a quality of consciousness remains ambiguous. This is especially true in regards to its relationship with time. Mindfulness emphasizes intentionality; has been proposed to represent healthy time perspectivity; and is correlated with goal conceptualization, pursuit, and achievement. As a preliminary measure in closing this research disparity by probing mindfulness and future-oriented cognition, the goal conceptualization strategy mental contrasting emerged as an intuitive addition to the body of research. This strategy professes three tenets: goal inception, obstacle generation, and solution cultivation. As present-minded action is accentuated, mindfulness is anticipated to be compatible with this model. The Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS) assessed subjects (n=94) instructed with Think Aloud protocol during which they vocalized organically-emerging thoughts for ten-minute recorded intervals. A qualitative scoring analysis was then applied so as to discern the proportion of the goal conceptualization strategy mental contrasting within raw test subject transcripts.

Linear regression models demonstrated a positive correlation (p <0.001) between trait mindfulness and the utilization of the full three tenets of mental contrasting which emphasizes overcoming obstacles in anticipation of goals. Fantasizing, a fixation on goals without emphasizing obstacles, possessed an inverse relationship with trait mindfulness (p-value: 0.012), while failing to generate solutions to goal obstacles was also negatively correlated with trait mindfulness (p <0.001). Mindfulness as an intervention may be calibrated to encompass such adaptive temporal implementation.

How to Cite:

Chambers, K., (2022) “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Mental Contrasting: Exploring the Intersection of Mindfulness & Mental Time Travel”, Arizona Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies 8, p.31-46.

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Published on
13 May 2022
Peer Reviewed